I’d Know You Anywhere, My Macy


I’m in the rare position of being all alone right now. Both Kat and Violet are at school and I have the freedom to do errands, to write, to read, to do whatever I want. Four years ago, when Kat started preschool, I didn’t have that same freedom. Yes, I had time to myself, but I was a shell of a person, both grieving my last child while growing a new one inside me.

I was wandering through Barnes and Noble the other day when I came across a stand holding two of Nancy Tillman’s picture books, On the Night You Were Born and I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love. The first book is all about the joy the world celebrates on the night the reader (young child) was born. The second recognizes the reader in various manifestations of animals. Both are sweet, but both touched me in different ways than their original intention, simply by their titles.

I think about the parents whose baby was born still or born and lived for just a few moments and who view that night so differently. Even though I was ‘prepared’ for Macy to die, I was not prepared for the overwhelming grief that came that night. I held my baby that night, but she was cold, blue, and so very still. In any case, at the hospital where she was born, we were allowed to hold her as much as we wanted to, and my husband gave her the traditional first bath, just as he did for each of her sisters.

We’re the lucky ones. We had our baby at a hospital with a perinatal comfort care program, where everyone there had the utmost respect for our painful loss. Some of you weren’t so lucky, and that is why there is still work to be done for our cause. There are so many ways we can spread awareness—either by sharing our stories, donating to places who make memory boxes, snuggle bears the same weight as a newborn, hearts to hold, support groups, or infant loss photography.

This year we are again honored to distribute Special Delivery to families at the OC Walk to Remember on October 5, 2013. The OC Walk to Remember is an amazing organization whose proceeds go towards many of those listed above and also towards education for health professionals and hospital programs. What better way to honor your baby than to help another family who, unfortunately, is going through the same grief as you?

I admit it still hurts not to have her here. And I admit that I still have a hard time looking at anyone who is pregnant. It’s not that I’m not happy for them, especially my sister-in-law who is due soon with her second child. (And whose first child is the same age as Macy.) It’s that I’m terrified and I don’t want to share that terror with you. I don’t want to think about all the bad things that could happen; I don’t want to transfer my anxieties and fears to you. My therapist calls it PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, and my medical mind agrees. I just didn’t realize that grief would encompass that as well. (Yes, I saw a therapist for two years after Macy’s death. It was a great decision for me and my family and I recommend it to anyone and everyone. There’s no shame in admitting you need help.)

In the month before Infant Loss and Awareness month, i.e. October, I feel this sunshine-y gladness that I can look around my world around me and say to Macy, my baby who will always stay a baby, that yes, I’d know her presence anywhere. I see it in her sisters’ laughs and giggles, I see it in the three blooming sunflowers in my backyard (one for each daughter), I see it in every single butterfly I see and every single beautiful thing I witness.

So, yes, I would know my babies anywhere, but especially my Macy. And, in the words of another Nancy Tillman picture book, I have this to say to Macy: wherever you are, my love will find you.


Melanie Tioleco-Cheng | SEPTEMBER 24, 2013